03-23-2012, 09:23 PM #1
CA - Jack Jessee, 56, dies in contract killing, Placentia, 13 Aug 1998
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — On the night his cancer-stricken brother was stabbed to death, David Jessee knew his sister-in-law was somehow behind it.
A few years earlier, Jessee said, his brother Jack told him over a glass of wine before bowling that if anything ever happened to him, she would be to blame.
More than a decade later, a gray-haired Sandra Jessee was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for having Jack Jessee, her third husband, killed in their Orange County home in 1998.
Prosecutors said she wanted to avoid paying for his cancer treatment and to collect his insurance and other benefits. Jessee, now 61, and her son Thomas Aehlert hired a hit man to commit the killing then received more than $650,000 from the sale of the couple's Placentia home along with 401(k) death benefits and insurance, prosecutors said.
"She's just one of the most twisted defendants I've come across who would engage her own biological son in the murder of a man she's been married to for 15 years at probably the most vulnerable time in his life," Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray said. "To see her finally get justice is very gratifying."
Defense attorney Derek Bercher said his client would appeal her conviction last year for murder for financial gain and conspiracy.
In 2007, Sandra Jessee and Aehlert were arrested in Arizona and brought to stand trial in Orange County. They were both put on trial, and a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of their conviction in 2009.
Last year, Aehlert struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He testified during his mother's retrial last year, along with Schrauben, who pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter in a deal with the district attorney's office in 2008.
A jury deliberated only four hours in December before convicting Sandra Jessee. The conviction carries a required life sentence, but Judge Stotler on Friday told the woman wearing thick glasses and a jail jumpsuit that he would not have granted her probation even if the law had allowed it.
The sentence was welcomed by Jack Jessee's family, who lamented how he has missed seeing his grandchildren grow up and attend college, and his daughter get married.
More at link....
03-27-2012, 05:41 PM #2
The alleged paid killer has yet to go to trial:
A hearing is scheduled for May 4 to discuss restitution for the victim's family.
Aehlert is set to be sentenced in September. Schrauben, who has been released from jail, is scheduled to be sentenced in July.
Garrick has pleaded not guilty and has yet to stand trial.
The case has not ended for Jack Jessee's family, but on Friday his relatives said they were relieved at the prospect of no longer having to see Sandra Jessee in court.
"This is like a 14-year ordeal that has come almost to completion," David Jessee told reporters. "This was my sister-in-law who put this whole thing together and she is going to spend the rest of her life where she belongs, thinking about this."
05-27-2015, 05:49 AM #3
From August 2013:
A man accused of being a contract killer wiped tears Thursday as an Orange County jury acquitted him of murder charges. The jury of seven men and five women in Superior Court Judge William Froeberg's courtroom deliberated about two days before finding Thomas Joseph Garrick, 37, of Laguna Hills not guilty of murder for financial gain and conspiracy to commit murder...
Schrauben pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 2008, also in exchange for his testimony, and was released after two years of time served...
Jack Jessee's brother Dave said he was disappointed but not surprised with the verdict. "We got the main ones, my brother's wife who put the whole thing together and her son (who) will be sentenced to 15 years to life," he said.
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